What Do You Seek?

S (Scripture) – John 1:35-39 “Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.  And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’  They said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?’  He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’  So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.”

O (Observation) – The very first words spoken by Jesus in John’s gospel were Jesus asking His brand new followers, “What do you seek?”  The Greek word for seek, zēteō, means “to look for, seek out; to try to obtain, desire to possess, strive for.”  That question is still being asked of His followers today – what is it that we seek in this life?  What are we looking for?  What are we seeking out?  What are we trying to obtain?  What do we desire to possess?  What do we strive for?  Jesus is asking us, not because He doesn’t know our hearts and everything about us, but because He wants us to pause and consider this life-changing notion.

A (Application) – Our time in this life will be spent focused on what we make our priority.  Our priority is driven by what we define as our purpose.  What do we seek in this life?  What do we seek from our relationship with the Lord?  Is He just a small part of our weekend, or is He absolutely everything and more?  Do we think about Him every now and then when we remember, or can we not go a single moment without being in His presence?  Do we live life from day-to-day, lacking direction, at the whim of whatever circumstance crosses our path, or are we living on purpose with intentionality in everything we do?

P (Prayer) – Dear Jesus, You are so wonderful and amazing, yet so personal and real.  Thank You, for meeting us exactly where we are, and for helping us to realize how important it is we settle up front exactly what it is we seek from You.  You want everything from us, because You gave up everything for us.  Thank You for loving me.  Help me to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, and everything else will be added unto me (Matthew 6:33).

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The Root of the Problem

S (Scripture) – Ephesians 6:12-13 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see that You are warning us that behind every circumstance we face in this life, there is a spiritual issue behind it.  If someone is struggling with an addiction, there is more to it than just mere physiology and brain chemistry.  If someone is having an affair, there are serious spiritual undercurrents to that person’s emotions and lustful desires.  Yes, depression is a very real physical condition – but there are spiritual components as well.

A (Application) – As we pray for ourselves and others, it is critical to recognize that praying for the spiritual issues at the root of the problem is the key to overcoming and walking in victory.  What emotion is the person feeling?  Name it.  When was the first time that emotion was experienced?  Recall it.  What lie is the person believing?  Say it.  Immediately renounce the lie for what it is, and replace it with God’s truth.  Proclaim that truth over the situation, and receive God’s grace to overcome it.

P (Prayer) – Oh, Heavenly Father, how many of us are struggling with issues in our lives today that have been plaguing us since childhood?  We try as we might to deal with them in our own fleshly ways, but the foundational elements of the battle cannot be won apart from You and the victory You make possible for us.  Help us, Lord, to recognize behind every issue the spiritual battle that is being fought.  Give us the grace we need to become more than conquerors in Christ Jesus as You have promised (Romans 8:37).

Make the Most of Your Time

S (Scripture) – Ephesians 5:15-17 “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

O (Observation) – Lord, this life is so short in relation to eternity.  We are given one life in which to come to a knowledge of You, walk in fellowship with You, and serve You.  When we die and come face-to-face with You, we are going to look back on our lives and realize that the only thing that mattered in the grand scheme of eternity is what we were able to accomplish for You and Your kingdom.  When we die, our bodies are buried, and everything that we accumulated in this life is stripped away.  The only lasting treasure that we have is what we have sown for You – our families, friendships, and relationships in which we have invested our very lives.  1 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.”  May we understand that ministering to others “life-on-life” is what will reap eternal rewards that can never be taken away.

A (Application) – May we not reach retirement age and look back on our lives only to wonder where all the time has gone.  We need to understand what the will of the Lord is now, and through fellowship with Him, walk out each day living on purpose.  May it be so that at the end our lives we look back over all that Jesus has been able to accomplish through us and marvel at how far we have come throughout the process.  Don’t let one more moment go by where we are bouncing from one circumstance to the next and unsure of what His purpose is for our lives.

P (Prayer) – Father in Heaven, You have created each and every one of us with unique strengths, personalities, gifts, and a purpose.  May we not allow the cares of this world to keep us from passionately pursuing every last bit of it.  My prayer is that when I finally meet You face-to-face, that You would proclaim to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:23)”  I do not want to finally meet You only to have You say that there was so much more that You had for me to accomplish for You that I just missed out on because I was too busy with other things.  Equip me, Lord.  We are in this together.

Have Mercy on Us (All)

I came across my very first journal recently, and plan to share these entries as a way to preserve them, pass them on, and see how the Lord has richly blessed my journey with Him over the years.


March 10th, 2009

S (Scripture) – Psalm 6:1-3 [A Psalm of David] “O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your wrath.  Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away; Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed.  And my soul is greatly dismayed; But You, O Lord – how long?”

O (Observation) – Like David, so often we want God to not rebuke us in His anger, or discipline us in His wrath, rather we want Him to be merciful to us, heal us, deliver us, and save us.  At the same time, we want justice brought to those who wrong us – we don’t cry out for mercy to those we feel do not deserve it, when in all actuality, it is quite true that none of us deserve it.  How easy it is to become self-righteous.

A (Application) – I need to realize that not one person on this planet really deserves God’s mercy.  However, God, in His unfailing love, has mercy on all of us, and wants to redeem every part of every person if they would only just let Him [by Christ’s sacrifice].

P (Prayer) – Abba Father, help me see others with Your eyes, and with Your heart.  Continue to teach me what it means to love and forgive.  Give me memory loss of others’ mistakes against me.  I do not want to ever be the Judge.

They’re Watching You

I came across my very first journal recently, and plan to share these entries as a way to preserve them, pass them on, and see how the Lord has richly blessed my journey with Him over the years.


March 9th, 2009

S (Scripture) – Genesis 24:21 “Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the Lord had made his journey successful or not.”

O (Observation) – What are your family members, friends, and associates learning about God from watching you?  If you proclaim to know the Lord, people are watching you even more than before.  They want to see if you are the real deal, or not.  Your thought process, the way you make decisions, and how you treat others are all going to be examined under a microscope.  Those that are teachers will be judged more strictly.

A (Application) – Take captive every thought for Christ.  Let every word out of your mouth only have life.  Recognize and encourage those who proclaim to live for Christ, but do not walk in the life He has for them.  Be disciplined.  “You have to LIVE OUT my love for other people.  You have to be willing to obey, no matter what the cost.  You have to love me with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.”

P (Prayer) – Lord, give me strength to obey You no matter what.

Forgiveness

S (Scripture) – Ephesians 4:30-32 “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see that You want us to be so filled up with Your truth, walking in step with Your Spirit, that we shed all that is not of You.  We are not to harbor bitterness against another, exercise wrath, dwell in anger, engage in clamor, slander another, or operate maliciously.  Our relationships with others are to be kind and tender-hearted – we are to forgive all, even if they don’t deserve it.

A (Application) – It has been argued by some who claim to be forgiven by Jesus that forgiveness of others is only commanded to those who are also believers, particularly those that are sorry and repentant for their grievances committed against them.  This is simply not true.  We are commanded to forgive everyone.  This does not mean that people are absolved from all consequences, or that we all of a sudden rebuilt trust with someone that has betrayed us.  It does mean that we do not cast judgement on that person, nor do we hold bitterness or anger in our hearts toward him or her.  The only person broken and hurting in the entanglement of un-forgiveness is the person holding on to the pain caused by the wrong.

I came across a posting regarding this matter that I feel sums this up perfectly:

“God is willing to forgive non-Christians, through Jesus.  But they must be willing to be forgiven, open to the truth.  God is full of mercy.  But our forgiving our fellow man is not the same as God forgiving one of us.  We are two sinners, one hurting the other.  God is sinless.  Even if we forgive our brother who hurts us, that does not mean that God forgives him.

Human forgiveness is purely relational: we do not actually REMOVE the guilt of his sin, only the ill feelings we have.  Divine forgiveness is purely moral, and truly ontological: our actual guilt is removed.

God doesn’t take our offenses ‘personally.’  He cannot lightly forgive because sin is against his nature.  Sin is antithetical to God’s nature (Habakkuk 1:13 etc).  For example, hot water cannot “forgive” an ice cube.  The ice cube will melt.  It will not be preserved.  This is not possible.  It’s nothing personal!  But God is pure God, and hence antithetical to evil.

Christians are supposed to forgive non-Christians.  Yet this does not wipe away their sin; it only removes a block between us and them.” – Douglas Jacoby

P (Prayer) – Heavenly Father, I am so profoundly thankful that while I was still yet a sinner, You sent Your Son to die for me (Romans 5:8).  It is, indeed, Lord, Your kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  Help me, Lord, to be kind to others though they do not deserve it, to forgive them when they aren’t sorry, and to refuse to have a wall be built that would block us from each other.  How can I possibly show Your love and truth to those that don’t know You if I cannot see over the wall of un-forgiveness?  May they see and experience but a glimpse of Your forgiveness through what they receive from me.

Not Turning Back, Forgiven Much = Love Much, Strong Foundation

I came across my very first journal recently, and plan to share these entries as a way to preserve them, pass them on, and see how the Lord has richly blessed my journey with Him over the years.


March 7th, 2009

S (Scripture) – Genesis 19:26, Luke 7:36-50, Luke 6:46-49

“But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”

“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’  And he replied, ‘Say it, Teacher.’  ‘A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.  So which of them will love him more?’  Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’  And He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’  Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?  I entered your house; you gave Me no water for my feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.  You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.  For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.’  Then He said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven.’  Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man who even forgives sins?’  And He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'”

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

O (Observation) – Lot’s sons-in-law thought the nearing judgement was a joke.  Despite the family’s hesitation, they were led out of the city.  Lot’s wife could not let go 100% and had to look back.

The woman who washed Jesus’s feet with her tears and perfume was forgiven greatly, and in return her love was great.

People who say, “Lord, Lord,” but do not put his words into practice will be washed away when a storm does come.

A (Application) – Treat the pending judgement as if it were a matter of life and death.  Leave everything of this world behind, and don’t look back.  Love, as I have been loved.  Continue to build a solid foundation each day so that when storms come, I will not be washed away.

P (Prayer) – Lord, may it be so.